After defeating the vampire, the party climbed back down and spent the night in the Fire Giant Chapel. The next morning, Gydion’s player rolled an exceptional Spellcraft roll, determining that the broken, porcelain doll they’d recovered in the tomb of Nargrym Steelhand was a soul-bound doll. Draken Mended the doll and it sprang to life! The kewpie-doll told them his name was Nickelbee, and that he used to serve Nargrym himself. Expressing wonder at Draken’s steelhand and magic hammer, the doll declared Draken as Nargrym’s rightful heir.Soon after this happened, Turin Teleported in, and took the dragonbone cage, together with some of the party’s extraneous treasure, and two party members, to the GiantKing’s Tomb just north of Shinnerman’s Fortune—where the dwarves had set up their encampment. The rest of the party camped overnight in the Chapel; the next morning, Turin re-appeared and Teleported them to the Tomb. (All save Gydion, who flew back since he couldn’t be included in either of Turin’s Teleports).
The party spent a week in the GiantKing’s Tomb, where they rested and paid Turin to produce various magic items for them in the dwarven encampment. Turin’s ranger sister Silaqui questioned King Knut about the dwarves’ plans, and asked him for help. He told her that she and her friends needed to act as spies for the dwarves; because, although they had some “eyes” in the outer reaches of Minderhal’s Valley, he didn’t know what lay in the heart of the valley, where the giants were assembling. He also mentioned that there were rumors of an “Anvil of Minderhal” somewhere in the valley, which could forge magic items; transmute one metal into another; and even magically resize giant-sized weapons into normal-sized weapons! The party was dubious but agreed to return to to investigate.
Upon returning to Minderhal’s Valley, Gydion took to the sky as an Air Elemental and flew reconnaissance while the others walked below. Following the foot-traffic led the adventurers to the southeast. After an uneventful night where the canyon walls opened up into a more shallow valley, the party continued on. After a few hours, the Druid returned to inform them that up ahead, the canyon housed a giant-sized cathedral built into the wall of a steep mountain, surrounded by hordes of giants of many species. A massive, poorly built gate lay between them and the cathedral. Seeing that they couldn’t hope to overcome all of those assembled giants, the party camped overnight in the storm. It started to rain. Under the cover of rain and wind and darkness, the Druid Wildshaped into an Air Elemental and made multiple trips to the Cathedral (which they now knew was called “Minderhal’s Cathedral” thanks to runes on its outer walls), searching for an entrance. He noticed that while some groups of giants entered freely, there wasn’t that much traffic into and out of the place. He also flew high above the Cathedral and (in a canyon behind the mountain) witnessed a dead giant, face-down in a mountain brook, being eaten by a herd of winged deer.
After much discussion which lasted late into the evening, the Giantslayers asked Dravis inquire with his magic sword (Dragonfang) how to get into the Cathedral. It instructed him thusly: “The entrance to the Cathedral lies under Lake Minderhal”. Having seen no lake in their travels—and curious to investigate the dead giant and the creatures feeding on it—the party decided to backtrack and travel to the canyon behind the Cathedral.
Next: Under Lake Minderhal